POETICS OF THE GAZE AND THE IDENTITY
Feb 14, 2019
BAT Alberto Cornejo, Moret Art, Zielinsky and Jorge Alcolea Galleries
If there is something especially captivating about the portrait genre, that it is the gaze. For some time the importance of the characters portrayed does not reside exclusively in symbols of power but in the ability to capture psychological essence achieved by the portraitist, being precisely the gaze that gives the portrayed greater psychic depth. In addition, when, the eyes of the portrayed figure look directly at the spectator, there is an astonishing tension, a kind of restlessness that requires dialogue, which exhibits provocation. The power of the gaze seems eternal as if it had a greater consistency able to expose the contained intimacies.
However, if the gaze can reflect a person's state of mind in an exceptional way, it can also hide it, make it confusing and inaccessible to external eyes that try to penetrate it. To identify or not to identify, the gaze expresses at the same time unique beings for some, similar ones to others, transcendental or insignificant. Both from the moral and aesthetic standpoint, those portrayed who look at us, who look at us in reality from our contemplation of the present, create a direct tension with the past and identity. Always with a cryptic like air, as the portrait prooves what we shall never be, what we are at the time that the photograph was taken or the portrait was painted, that sense of Barthes’ "this has been", these images are predicting our end.
Within the great proposal of the BAT Gallery Alberto Cornejo (Madrid) what precisely stands out is the portraiture genre. The women portrayed by José Ramón Lozano usually look at us very consciously, almost demanding that we contemplate and finish the story that they themselves have opened. They have something memorable, a turning point in a possible story of internalized solitude so often accompanied by pain. Very different are the portraits of Lantomo (Antonella Montes), more intimate, more reserved. While the use of graphite, watercolour and pastel is one of the reasons that explains that the figures acquire these characteristics, so is the fact that their characters do not always look at us, but are absorbed in their thoughts and do not require the empathy of the observer.
Another of the most outstanding portrait artists of our times is Mária Švarbová, a photographer from which the BAT gallery will present a selection of their individual and collective portraits. We attend the portrait of childhood and the beginning of adolescence in stages of meticulous harmony, of bodies so perfect and similar that touch the dreamlike fiction. On the other hand, the figures included by Marta Sánchez Luengo In their sculptures are much more than natural and close, they are realistic. In fact, their naturalistic way of modelling and the attitudes of their characters, as every day as reading a book, waiting for the underground or just walking around thinking, can certainly remind us of the realists from Madrid and especially of some pieces by the master Julio López Hernández. Leticia Felgueroso’s works could also relate to the realists because they share the passion for portraying the city of Madrid, although in the case of Felgueroso is through photography and intervened chromaticism.
In this daily work proper of the great metropolises, the contemporary society is also exposed very well: multitudes of people who move on full of worries and anxieties, between haste, jams and "deadlines". This guided mass is a topic that Gustavo Díaz Sosa tends to reflect in series such as "Burócratas y Padrinos", "Huérfanos de Babel" or the most recent "Revelaciones y Encrucijadas". The imposed social behaviours also removed from natural impulses, is a subject that also concerns Rubén Martín de Lucas, of whom a selection of the series "The Garden of Fukuoka" is presented, work in which the Guest Artist of this edition confronts industrial and natural processes.
The BAT proposal closes with the all rounded shapes of the sculptures by Carlos Albert and Carlos Iglesias, Madrid successors of the Basque School of sculpture; the most fluid and sensual works in aluminium by Rafael Amarós; and the matter and lyrical abstractions of Fernando Palacios.
Watch and reveal, play with what is hidden and what is shown, is a very particular feature of the Lino Lago portraits, an artist who participates in Art Madrid with the Moret Art gallery (A Coruña). This gallery will also present some of the latest works by Daniel Subeiras, such as the painting "Sir Kristoff Tar Toffee the 3rd" (2019), where the author introduces us to the new addition to his ingenious and extensive gallery of portraits, notable for its humorous component and by his masterful control of the oil-on-board technique. Along with the work of Subeiras, a selection of the sculptural work by Iván Prieto is presented: pieces made from its technical characteristic-ceramics after painted with acrylics-in which contemporary bodies, always defective, without abandoning the crave of an impossible and imposed perfection, they are exaggeratedly distorted to the point of reaching surrealistic, extravagant, more beautiful forms.
Moret Art will also include in its proposal the pieces by Miguel Piñeiro, contemporary still lifes of icons from the culture of our time, especially surprising for the high degree of hyperrealism; and the photographs by Xurxo Gómez-Chao, of which two of his lines of work are presented: on the one hand, a set of the beautiful vanitas stagings, and on the other, his more mystery images of rooms, in which a kind of mist seems to have evaporated the previous presence.
Within the proposal of the Zielinsky Gallery (Barcelona) it is worth highlighting the work of Pachi Santiago, artist who offers the most explicit game around identity, gaze, codes of representation and appropriation, as we see in the broad project "Copying Claudia", in which the spectator can take part in the same feelings. The appropriation, manipulation and interest in the ways of portraying the human body, is something that he shares with the artist Juan Fielitz who, on the opposite, hides the faces or body parts that we would like to see from the portrayed. Thus, in these images collected in archives, the artist stripped the portrayed of his identity, offering in his final photomontages a poetic ensemble of enigmatic fragments.
Zielinsky will also expose the photographs by Eduardo Marco, in which an attentive and contemplative look allows us to repair in the beauty that so often goes unnoticed in the big city; surreal and pop worlds, full of winks in which to recognize ourselves, by Joaquín Lalanne; and the cartographies by Yamandú Canosa, metaphors of our being, of our way of living: at the end portraits of emotions that explain our displacement.
Some gazes are unique, such as those achieved by Eloy Morales in his huge portraits and self-portrait, that the Jorge Alcolea gallery will show. As the artist explains, for him "the important thing is to show through the work your way of seeing things and the way you present them to the spectator" always maintaining a deep concern for "the tremendous power of the image and its endless possibilities." Other gazes, equally interesting and perhaps more unfathomable, are those from the animal world, some like the bears that star in the latest works by Miguel Macalla.
Jorge Alcolea's proposal is completed with the urban and nocturnal portraits by Carlos Azañedo, those in which the postmodern city never stops never sleeps and each one of us is only "another one". Also in its stand you will be able to see the realistic sculptures by Isidre Tolosa, personal objects like books or diaries that, likewise, can be the best portraits of ourselves because of everything so personal that they reveal; and the paintings by Isabel Ramoneda, free and careless abstractions on paper accompanied by handwritten thoughts.
Multiple gazes for multiple identities; always open works, eternally expectant in front of the possible gaze of the spectator: these are some of the works that can be enjoyed in the new edition of Art Madrid.